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Boosters and Branding 

Can officials take advantage of Spokane’s pot-friendly laws?

Spokane is famous for a variety of things: Expo ’74, Gonzaga basketball, potholes. Last week, it added one more: legal cannabis.

But how does Spokane — a city also known as a wholesome, family-friendly community — market itself in relation to the burgeoning, and now legal, recreational marijuana industry?

Answer: It’s unclear.

“I know of no plans for the City of Spokane to market itself in relation to the marijuana industry,” says City Councilman Jon Snyder, who has been a leader on the issue, in an email.

Cheryl Kilday, president and CEO of Visit Spokane, which promotes travel and tourism in the region, says its board of directors has adopted a philosophy that looks at marijuana as part of Spokane’s larger food, wine, spirits and craft beer culture. But because Visit Spokane got mixed responses from local business leaders, the organization is holding off on any cannabis-specific promotions.

“Our role will be to provide information and promote cannabis-related destination experiences to travel writers and leisure travelers alongside our region’s other dynamic assets,” Kilday says. ♦

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